Cross-Database Join functionality with Tableau 10

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Cross-Database Join, one of the most anticipated features in Tableau 10

Tableau 10 comes with a great new feature called Cross-Database Join, which allows us to cross data between different sources easily and intuitively.

In previous Tableau versions, you needed the Data-Blending solution to join data from different databases. This feature works well enough in one-to-one relationships, but unwanted asterisks pop up when we want to perform a join in one-to-many relationships. JOIN Data from Different Sources is one of the most voted for ideas in the Tableau community for avoiding this scenario and at last we got this great feature in August with Tableau 10.

In this article we are going to reproduce these painful asterisks by applying Data-Blending and then explain how to use Cross-Database Join functionality to escape such limitations.

 

1. Data-Blending

Imagine that we want to analyse sales by employee and region and that the data comes from different sources:

➜ Oracle table: contains region details

➜ Excel file: contains region details and sales by employee

Notice that in the second data source, there are multiple employees by region, so in order to cross data between both data sources we use the Region Name field whose relationship is one-to-many.

 

Figure 1: Primary Data source

Figure 1: Primary Data source

Figure 2: Secondary Data source

Figure 2: Secondary Data source

As we mentioned before, when we apply Data-Blending in one-to-many relationships we get asterisks in those cases where a specific region contains more than one employee.

Figure 3: Data-Blending

Figure 3: Data-Blending

Until now, there was no quick way to avoid these asterisks, and technical IT knowledge was needed to apply database federation between connections.

 

2. Cross-Database Join

Cross-Database Join is the new feature that Tableau 10 provides to cross data between different sources much faster and without any additional technical knowledge. Let’s explain how to perform a Cross-Database Join, step by step, using the same example and data sources as before.

First, we need to include the Oracle DB table as a primary source and the Excel file as a secondary source. Once both data sources are available, we need to carry out the following steps to apply Cross-Database Join:

1. Place on localhost connection (HR Oracle Schema data source).

2. In table area, double click on REGIONS to use this entity.

3. Perform the same steps to include Employee Sales entity from Employee connection (Excel file). Now you can see that Tableau tries to join both entities automatically.

4. Click on the circles icon; a Join set-up window will appear.

5. Select which kind of join you want to perform.

6. Select the specific fields of each entity that you are going to use to apply the join. In our example, they are “Region Name” field for REGIONS entity and “region Name1” field for Employees Sales.

7. After following the above steps, just click on “Update Now” to display the join results.

Figure 4: Cross-Database Join, step by step with Tableau 10

Figure 4: Cross-Database Join, step by step with Tableau 10

If we reproduce the same analysis as before (sales by employee and by region), Tableau 10 aggregates fields from the second data sources without any issues and asterisks do not appear in the analysis.

Figure 5: Data-Blending Tableau 9.3

Figure 5: Data-Blending Tableau 9.3

Figure 6: Cross-Database Join Tableau 10

Figure 6: Cross-Database Join Tableau 10

It’s easy to see the benefits of this new feature. Cross-Database Join functionality will allow us to cross data between different data sources and types in an easier and more intuitive way (avoiding those painful asterisks when using Data-Blending). It is a very interesting improvement that many Tableau users will welcome to create their daily scorecards.

If you want to know the latest news about Tableau 10 check our previous post and keep updated!

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Tableau 10 Release!

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Introduction

The Tableau 10 release is already here and we’d like to highlight the most important new features available in this version. Some of these features will revolutionize how we develop with the tool whilst others will make our lives much easier - just check out the cross database join functionality as an example. It also presents us with some new functionalities for Tableau final users such as the highlighter and, of course, Tableau is still improving the look and feel of the tool and its amazing visualizations, and it is now more flexible for mobile and tablet designs allowing you to consume your reports anywhere.

Tableau 10 Release

 

1. Analytics

We can detect some interesting new features in analytics. One of the most relevant is the cross data source filter - with this capability we can easily set a filter for the data sources feeding our visualizations. We can also build a cluster analysis by just dragging and dropping the functionality to our report, thus allowing the detection of patterns in the data. Finally, with the highlighter function, the dashboard consumer can mark the desired data. Other interesting functions are the custom territories, the new bar charts options available and more advanced analytics.

 

2. Data

In Tableau 10 we can see some big improvements in the way we interact with our data sources. The most important is the cross database join feature, which allows us to make joins between tables coming from different data sources. This will avoid data-blending in many situations and thus multiply analysis possibilities. In this version of Tableau you can also get email alerts and notifications if there is any issue when refreshing a published extract. In terms of data, there are some other new features like a connector to Google sheet and many others, enhanced maps data and more Oracle options in the connection.

 

3. Beauty

Tableau has also invested heavily in developing the look and feel of the tool and the resulting creations of the users. The workbook formatting feature allows you to apply a format to the entire workbook, thus saving time, and global changes are quicker. We can also see enhancements in the predefined fonts and titles.

 

4. Mobile

Here we can see another big improvement: the device designer feature can make a real difference as you can now define how you want to display your dashboards depending on the client’s device. You can design a different disposition of the visualization for mobile, tablet and desktop; and needless to say, there is an Android version of the mobile app.

 

5. Web

Here there are some improvements that offer more flexibility to web users: with web authoring it is possible to create new dashboards and add new data sources in the Tableau Server editor; with the revision history feature, the admin will be able to access the history of the published workbooks and data sources and restore or download an older version if desired. Furthermore, there’s more information on the statistics of your data sources and the publish flow to the server is now more user-friendly.

 

6. Enterprise

In Tableau 10 there is also space for IT perspective improvements. One of the most important is the subscribe others function, allowing you to subscribe other Tableau users to your visualizations so that they will automatically receive the view via email; there are other new features for the admins like the licensing views, new API functionalities for the developers, SAML support and sensible performance improvements.

 

Click here if you would like to receive more information about Tableau 10 or if you need any guidance with the migration process!

 

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Summarize Tableau Server permissions in one single view

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Introduction Tableau Server permissions

Our customers are usually interested in knowing who has access to the different elements (sites, workbooks, views…) in the Tableau Server. Only the administrator knows this information and he will need to go element by element checking the Tableau Server permissions.

Figure 1: Current Tableau Server Permissions View

Figure 1: Current Tableau Server Permissions view

Furthermore, this information cannot be exported to any format, so in case we want to create a report, we will have to copy all the names manually. This work can become tedious, especially when the number of workbooks and users grows.

Our solution consists in a Permissions Dashboard that will allow us to have all the Tableau permissions organized by Site, Project, View and User. As all Tableau dashboards, it can also be exported to different formats.

1. Understanding the Tableau Server database

By connecting to PostgreSQL Tableau Server database, we will be able to get to all the necessary information to monitor the Tableau Server (i.e. user actions, permissions, logins, performance, etc).
In order to understand our solution, we recommend you to check what the PostgreSQL Tableau Server database offers:

➜ Create Custom Administrative Views: https://onlinehelp.tableau.com/current/server/en-us/adminview_postgres.htm
➜ Data Dictionary: https://onlinehelp.tableau.com/current/server/en-us/data_dictionary.html
➜ Enable external access to "Tableau" and "readonly" users: https://onlinehelp.tableau.com/current/server/en-us/adminview_postgres_access.htm

 

2. Connecting the Tableau Desktop to Tableau Server Database

As the Tableau Server is a PostgreSQL database, you will need to set a new PostgreSQL connection.
Click here to find out how to connect to the Tableau Server Database!

In order to get permissions information, we will need to query the following tables:

next_gen_permissions capabilities licensing_roles
users workbooks domains
system_users sites group_users
views projects groups

I recommend you to use a Custom SQL statement as follows:

SELECT DISTINCT * FROM (
    /** User views **/
    SELECT  s.name as Site,
            p.name as Project,
            w.name as Workbook,
            v.name as View,
            su.friendly_name as User
    FROM    next_gen_permissions ngp, 
            users u, 
            system_users su, 
            views v, 
            capabilities c, 
            workbooks w, 
            sites s, 
            projects p
    WHERE   ngp.grantee_id = u.id
            and u.system_user_id = su.id
            and ngp.authorizable_id = v.id
            and ngp.capability_id = c.id
            and v.workbook_id = w.id
            and v.site_id = s.id
            and p.id = w.project_id
            and ngp.grantee_type = 'User'
            and ngp.authorizable_type = 'View'
            and c.name = 'read'

    UNION ALL

    /** Group views **/
    SELECT  s.name as Site,
            p.name as Project,
            w.name as Workbook,
            v.name as View,
            uig.friendly_name as user
    FROM    next_gen_permissions ngp, 
            views v, 
            capabilities c, 
            workbooks w, 
            sites s, 
            projects p,
            (SELECT system_users.friendly_name, 
                    groups.id as group_id
            FROM    system_users, users, licensing_roles, domains, group_users, groups
            WHERE   users.system_user_id = system_users.id
                    and users.licensing_role_id = licensing_roles.id 
                    and	system_users.domain_id = domains.id 
                    and	group_users.user_id = users.id
                    and	group_users.group_id = groups.id) uig       
    WHERE   ngp.grantee_id = uig.group_id
            and ngp.authorizable_id = v.id
            and ngp.capability_id = c.id
            and v.workbook_id = w.id
            and v.site_id = s.id
            and p.id = w.project_id
            and ngp.grantee_type = 'Group'
            and ngp.authorizable_type = 'View'
            and c.name = 'read'
) as Workbook_Permissions

Figure 2: ER Diagram of the involved tables

Figure 2: ER Diagram of the involved tables


3. Building the Dashboard

Once we have the Data Source set, building the dashboard is straight forward. Find below a few tips that will improve the usability.

3.1 Manually: Adding an option to the mapping

Create a hierarchy that will allow us to drill down from site level to view level:     

Figure 3: Site-Project-Workbook-View Hierarchy

Figure 3: Site-Project-Workbook-View Hierarchy

Place the hierarchy in the columns shelf and the User in Rows shelf as follows:

Figure 4: Columns and Rows shelfs

Figure 4: Columns & Rows shelfs

This hierarchy will allow us to have the access summarized at site level and also detailed at View level without navigations.

3.2 Filters 

The filters will be defined according to our dimensions: Site, Project, Workbook and User.

Figure 5: Filters applied

Figure 5: Filters applied

3.3 Numbers of views

As the granularity of our dashboard is view, therefore the Number of records metric will show us the total views of each user at any level of the hierarchy. The value is shown in the tool-tip and also next to the blue shape.

Figure 6: View at Site and Workbook levels

Figure 6: View at Site & Workbook levels

Conclusion

To summarize, after customizing it with our logo and our colours, this is how the permissions dashboard looks like:

 

Figure 7: Customized permissions view

Figure 7: Customized permissions view

We can see for every element in the dashboard, who has access (blue shape) and who has not (red cross).

We have set a live connection, so all the data is always updated, keeping the permissions under control in one single view. Furthermore, this information can be shared by publishing the workbook in Tableau Server or by using the export option.

In conclusion, this dashboard is a useful solution to keep all the permissions under control in one single view. This will help us to ensure every user has the correct access increasing the security and maintainability of our Tableau Server.

Click here if you would like to receive more information about the topic!

 

Informatica Performance – Optimization techniques

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Informatica performance - Optimization techniques

 

Informatica provides the market´s leading data integration platform. ETL Mappings are designed for data loading into the data warehouse environment to achieve better reporting which in turn helps you to understand business trends better. The major problem faced by anyone working with Informatica ETL is to design a mapping(s) that doesn’t compromise its performance. Often we end up creating a mapping that achieves only the functionality but suffers in terms of performance.

The article explains the steps to identify the performance bottlenecks and the advanced optimization techniques that are available in Informatica to overcome them.

Following topics are discussed in detail:

* Optimizing sources, Targets and Buffer Blocks:
Performance bottlenecks can occur when the Integration Service reads from a source database or writes to a target database. Depending on the source, target data, you may need to increase or decrease the buffer block size. In this article we list the steps you have to take to ensure that the sources and the Targets are fully utilized to optimum level and how to calculate Buffer block size.

* Push down Optimization (PDO):
Push Down Optimization Option enables data transformation processing to be pushed down into any relational database to make the best use of database processing power.

* Session Partitioning & Dynamic Session Partitioning:
The Session Partitioning Option increases the performance of Power Center through parallel data processing. In dynamic partitioning, Integration Service determines the number of partitions to create at run time based on factors such as source database partitions or the number of nodes in a grid.

* Concurrent Workflow Execution:
A workflow configured for Concurrent Execution can run as multiple instances concurrently. In the article we illustrate this functionality by using a workflow that is configured with multiple instances to process data belonging to multiple sites simultaneously.

* Load Balancing:
Load balancing is a mechanism which distributes the workloads across the nodes in the gird. In the article we see how to assigning Service Levels to Workflows to achieve Load Balancing.

Click to read the full article: Informatica performance - Optimization techniques!

 

Business Intelligence in the Oil & Gas sector

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Business Intelligence in Oil & Gas: Decoding the dataWe are excited to be featured once again in Pipeline Magazine with the article "Decoding your data" - about the Business Intelligence Platform we deployed at Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd (GASCO)!

The digitisation and automation of assets offers producers in the global oil and gas sector the opportunity to dramatically increase their efficiency and productivity levels by collecting performance data from their assets. The amount of data being collected in this sector is staggering. Across the Middle East, tens of thousands of remote sensors are collecting millions of gigabytes of data from oil and gas operations.

However, collecting the data is only the first part of the challenge. If operators are to make the most of this wealth of digital information, they must find ways to quickly and efficiently analyse it. If this is done properly, companies should be able to:

* review their past performance
* refine their current production processes in near real time
* and even predict trends as they emerge

All of this should allow them to stay ahead of the profitability curve.

As many of you already know ClearPeaks has provided Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for operators in the oil and gas sector. We have delivered a ground breaking project with UAE gas processing giant, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd (GASCO). We began working with Gasco in 2010, when the company decided that it wanted to streamline its operations through better use of analytical data.

With the GASCO BI Platform, we have delivered arguably one of the most advanced Oil & Gas Analytics environment in the Gulf region. It extends the capabilities of Oracle BI ensuring optimal customer experience and user adoption, whilst leveraging the Oracle platform’s versatility and robustness. We are proud to announce:

* a user adoption of over 1000 active users across all departments and production sites
* from Finance, HR & Procurement to Gas Plant Production & Maintenance
* addressing users’ needs from C-level to site management and down to operational analysts
* consuming more than 300 corporate reports and over 15 corporate BI dashboards daily

The entire enterprise is now enabled on one integrated platform.

Read the full article here!

Pipeline Magazine delivers the latest Oil, Gas and Energy news from the Middle East and across the globe,  and is the world's leading specialist magazine for OSS, BSS, ICT, and ICE technology news and information.

If you would like to receive more information about the GASCO BI project and how this experience can benefit your organisation, please contact us to receive a copy of the Success Story e-book or to hear about it directly from our team!

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